Chains like Starbucks and McDonald’s have added them as nutritious options, and smoothie and juice bars are popping up everywhere. Unfortunately, commercially-bought smoothies are generally laden with sugar from extra juice and fruit extracts. To make sure your smoothie is as healthy as possible, buy a blender and make it yourself — just make sure to include these staples!
1. Liquid base. Whether you use low-fat milk, soy or almond milk, water or juice, about a half to one cup is all you need to make your smoothie drinkable. Try to use milk or water instead of juice, and then use actual fruit for the flavor instead of juice.
2. Protein. Try Greek yogurt, tofu, protein powder, egg whites, ricotta cheese or cottage cheese for a healthy serving of protein to give your smoothie some serious staying power.
3. Fruit. Be inventive! Almost every single fruit combination is delicious, so really mix it up here. Try bananas with blueberries, apples with mangos or pineapple with kiwi for a little punch.
4. Fat. It’s important to have a healthy fat at every meal. Try one tablespoon of peanut or almond butter, some slivered almonds or be really daring and throw in some avocado.
5. Vegetables. Up the nutrition value for almost no calories and little flavor with some leafy greens. Spinach and kale are great additions to any smoothie as they add iron, fiber and antioxidants. They will make your smoothie a little thicker but won’t change the flavor.
Add one item from each of these five categories for a super delicious, easy-to-make meal that is high in nutrition to keep you going throughout your day. They are great any time of the day and can be made ahead of time as long as they are refrigerated. Just make sure to shake before drinking as some of the ingredients may separate.Information provided by Julia Steggerda, Fitness World 24 – Downtown, 418 Sixth Ave., Suite 110, 288-1111.